From Overload To Creation

Recently I wrote about Inspiration Overload and it made for a lot of conversation in the comments, which I LOVE. It’s so satisfying to see a post turn into a conversation here on Mocking Bird. For those of you that do comment, thank you so much. For those quieter ones that read, come out and say hi sometime. I’d love to “meet” you.

So that post…a lot of readers were feeling the same way about having inspiration overload. Of course, I’m now going to do a complete 360 as I want to talk about the ways in which we are inspired.

Last week I went to see Arcade Fire and was blown away by their awesomeness again. As the cerulean-blue-frocked Regine spun her glittery ribbons around the stage, I was imagining pictures in my head. Little images and ideas appeared in my mind as the music was beating straight through to my heart. Images flashing on the video walls, snow appearing to fall across the stage, the lyrics running like wildfire…all these things strike up the harps of inspiration within my head. Even at 34, I still get pangs of wanting to be a rockstar for those few euphoric moments of madness that happen at rock shows.

My inspiration comes from the books I read, the artists whose lives I imagine, the moments I have in my head during xylophone chimes, watching people’s footsteps on the street march in time with the music on my radio and the flashes of summer childhood memories that pop in and out of every day conversations.

Inspiration can come from so many different places. It’s about being switched on to that place in your head that allows your imagination to wander, being aware of the little pictures that you and only you can create.

I think to be inspired is one thing. To take that inspiration and turn it into something beautiful is quite something else. That’s my new aim. Won’t you join me?

p.s. Check out my guest post for Margaret over at Paper Pastries. I take you on a visual tale of my 2 cities.

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Ways To Inspire Kids To Love Books

Just when you thought you had little ole Mocking Bird pegged, I’m throwing you a curve ball and am going to write about something I never write about. Today I will not be writing about anything to do with photography or cameras or Polaroids! Try to take your jaw from the floor, kids.

It occurred to me recently that I assume Mocking Bird readers know everything about me which is pretty stupid on my part. For those of you who haven’t read my About Page, I am actually a teacher by trade. Back in Australia, my day to day was a teacher of gorgeous little cherubs of the infant kind. I know a lot of you who swing by here have bubbas and I want to share something else that I am very passionate about other than photography.

Reading To Children

You probably already guessed that from my rather obvious title though, right? One thing that I am often asked by parents is “How do I get my kid to enjoy reading?” The simple answer is show them how.

There is a BRILLIANT piece of writing by Australian children’s author Mem Fox about how to inspire a love of reading and I urge you to read it.

These are some ways to inspire children to love books and reading:

  1. Love books yourself- children model their parents behaviour. If your child sees you reading books, enjoying books, buying books and sharing books, they will want to do the same thing.
  2. Fill your house with books and reading material- the saddest thing a teacher can hear from a student is that they don’t own any books. I am probably one of those boring people who always gives their friends’ babies books as presents but for a child to have their own library from the youngest age is SO important.
  3. Allocate daily reading time- whether it be an hour, 20 mins or 5 mins. 5 minutes a day is better than nothing at all.
  4. Go to the library and borrow books on a weekly basis.
  5. Allow them to borrow weekly from their school library by making sure they have their library bag on library day. School librarians are sticklers for not allowing borrowing without a bag.
  6. Discuss their favourite books and book characters- talk about books with your kids so that they are immersed in a book rich life.
  7. Draw and paint their favourite books- children learn to draw before reading and writing and it’s instinctively natural for them to want to create through drawing.
  8. Write stories together about characters in their favourite books- retell the story, change the ending, write a new complication (problem), make up back stories for the characters.
  9. Take photos of them reading and stick them on the fridge with “Darcy is reading”  or “Darcy is a reader” written underneath- ha! I knew I’d get photography in there somehow.
  10. Call your children “readers” even if they are aged 3 and just turning the pages. It doesn’t matter that they aren’t physically reading the words- they are still “readers”.

Do all of this from birth. Books and reading need to be a part of a child’s life long before they get to school. Worrying about a child not being interested in books in Grade 1 or 2 is too late. They need a book rich life from birth.

I hope this list is helpful to some of you Mums and Dads out there. I’d love to know what some of your strategies are for inspiring kids to love books. I know there are lots of other ways and would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

p.s. I hope this wasn’t too off topic for those of you without kids. I want to bring a bit more of my children oriented life into this blog because I’m really starting to miss working with them. I’m not teaching right now, so this is my little way of getting it out there.

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Today I Love

Do you like my pile of polas and letters?

Today I love… letters from home, camelia petals, Small Magazine, book packages from Amazon, kind emails from Mocking Bird readers, Marry Me Peonies from Emerson Made, Nikki the cat who has decided our computer/TV room is her new sleeping room, Girl of All Work stationery, a new novel to crack open, Purdy’s Chocolate, Wii Fit Hula Hooping, Lost Podcasts with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, sunlight on forecast rainy days, finishing a roll of film, sending off prints to faraway lands like Slovakia, the kindness of twitter and flickr friends, the possibilities of another week…

What are you loving today?

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Let The Wild Rumpus Start!

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As did many others on opening day, I saw Where The Wild Things Are and did so with a lot of excitement and hype.

I have forever loved the book and, as an infants teacher, it is a staple in my teaching. I love reading it and I love sharing that love with children. This is a book that little kids love because they can relate to the not so perfect Max and they get excited by his wild adventures.

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The excitement was over the book, but the hype came from having it being directed by Spike Jonze, written by Dave Eggers, starring some great actors and music scored by Karen O. How could this go wrong?

It didn’t. The film lived up to everything I imagined and was shot so beautifully I wanted to cry. In fact, I did at one point in the story.

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Max Records is brilliant as Max and Spike Jonze wasn’t afraid to show the true darkness of the book. Yes, it’s a children’s picture book but Max is a naughty boy who does bad things and the Wild Things are nasty creatures who Max ends up wanting to escape from. Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers did a great job at portraying that and managed to add some sort of narrative to what is essentially a not very long picture book. Not an easy task!

You may not like the film, it’s not exactly for kids and it’s a little bit strange. The Wild Things have some serious issues. However, I loved it… it is beautiful to look at and I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

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There is a great blog called We Love You So that has some fun links to all Wild Things. Check out the awesome forts people have been building. I want to build one for Halloween!

Urban Outfitters have some cute t shirts and Max dolls while McSweeney’s is selling Dave Eggers’ novel adaptation of the book.

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I’ve been listening to Karen O and the kids all week and Sean swiped me a poster from Zulu Records.

Images from Google Images and We Love You So.

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A New Beginning

welcome

SAME OLD NAME, SAME OLD ME, just new pages to write upon.

It’s like buying a brand new Moleskine; a brand new Moleskine with milky pages whispering your name each time you run your fingers over them. Fresh new pages waiting for you to swirl over with a fine tipped felt pen.

I haven’t written properly on my blog since October last year. I needed a break, needed to find something new to be inspired by and needed to want to write. I knew that the time would come that I would want to write again, so here I am.

I hope to write about the things that I find inspiring, of course will write about all things photography, share new ideas and internet finds, and to keep a diary of sorts of my upcoming move to Canada. Yes, the Canadian and I are currently awaiting to hear if we have been approved for a spousal visa. The application process is a gruelling one and we have done the hard part, now we just have to wait. It’s a long road ahead but hopefully one that is full of excitement, happy anticipation and a successful final result!

Thanks for stopping by.

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